Terriers
made its maiden voyage on Wednesday, September 8th on FX and the
response has been excellent. For good reason. Not only is it yet another
example on why FX is continually raising the bar of television dramas
but also in that they’re willing to embrace things that don’t adhere to
the “look at me” vibe so common in television.

What’s your gimmick?

Terriers
is small. Delightfully so. Donal Logue [my interview] and Michael Raymond-James star and it’s really a nice change of pace. The ratings haven’t been great, which is sad but indicative of the marketplace. I hope that changes. This fills a void.

I spoke with Michael Raymond-James about the show last week, the results of which are below. Enjoy!

But first, a peek at
the show:



Nick Nunziata: I consider myself kind of a snob where I’m supposed to know everything, but you snuck up on me with this show and part of it’s because I’m allergic to vampire shows [Raymond-James is a True Blood vet] or whatever, but I kind of want to get an idea as to a little bit of your background.  You kind of really came on the scene strong and it’s the kind of thing where now I want to use you as my go to guy for all these dream casting gigs.


Michael Raymond-James: Ah, cool.  Thanks, man.  So what was the–?


Nick Nunziata: Kind of what got you here?  A little bit about your background and what led you to this role.

Donal Logue: Well, I guess background, I’m from Michigan and acting’s not really something that’s really a possibility, but I sort of stumbled upon it at a certain point and it really was what I had been looking for all along, but it just wasn’t anything that I could’ve imagined was possible.I went to New York and I studied here at the Lee Strasberg Institute and did a lot of theatre and then I was eventually invited to Los Angeles at the behest of a casting director, who put me in contact with numerous agents and executives and took meetings and so I kind of got a jump on the game and I really, at that point, didn’t really have any sort of a particular desire to go to Los Angeles.I was doing small theatre in New York and waiting tables or building fences in Connecticut or whatever to sort of make the ends meet and I sort of figured I’d wind up in Los Angeles when I was in my 40’s or something and become some kind of character actor dude.  So I’m betting house money now, man.  It’s been great.  I feel really fortunate.  Stephanie Elaine had a great quote one time when we talked about all this stuff and it’s just hard earned luck.  I love what I do and when I’m not working I’m at the Actor’s Studio three times a week just because I need to be doing this, otherwise, like I said before, I’ll start to get a little weird.

Nick Nunziata: It’s got to help inform this character, though.



Michael Raymond-James: What’s that?

Nick
Nunziata: The round-a-bout way and the kind of the work that you did kind of getting to this.


Michael Raymond-James: Yes, the character really just; there’s certain roles that you say, “Wow, that’s nowhere who I am and there’s a lot of work here to do that’s interesting and I’m going to mine a lot of stuff within myself and sort of start to find where this whole thing lives.”  “Rene” from True Blood is a character like that and this really didn’t require that much.  There’s certain parts that just you feel when you read them that they’ve been written for you, you know?  And this is one of those times where I really responded to the material and having worked with Craig before I knew it was going to be in safe hands because he’s sort of—Craig kind of put me on the map in terms of people really seeing my work like in Black Snake Moan.  Even though like 57 people only saw that movie but yes.

Nick Nunziata: There’s a really unpretentious and old school vibe to the show which is kind of a breath of fresh air even though TV’s really good right now.  There’s a lot of high concept stuff and all that and I kind of wanted to get did you guys realize that as you were developing it or was it something that kind of came together because of the people that are involved?

Michael Raymond-James: Yes, the chicken or the egg.  I think we certainly did recognize it and I think in part that’s kind of why they hired Donal and I.  I think that we kind of fit into that world pretty easily, which isn’t to say; I think either of us could do sort of high-flying, fancy, high-concept whatever, but just as a natural walking out of your life and into a show this sort of fit us really well.  But yes, we certainly recognized that and wanted to make that an aspect.And one of the important things is we want to these are two guys for the most part that are going to be put out front and if you don’t, it can be kind of personal, where it’s like if you don’t like these dudes, if you don’t want to hang with these guys at all you’re probably not going to like the show.  If you think that they’re kind of alright maybe it might be somebody you might want to have a beer with or whatever you probably will like the show.  We wanted to kind of keep that pretty mellow, pretty breezy.

Nick Nunziata: Well, Donal mentioned The Rockford Files in his interview and it was funny because I had forgotten about the show and I had forgotten that there was kind of an empty space where shows like that were in today’s marketplace but it really just felt like time and I think Terriers definitely fills that kind of empty space in TV right now.



Michael Raymond-James: Yes, I think you’re right.  It’s definitely a throwback to a lot of ways.  In a lot of ways to those old sort of Rockford Files, even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Ted Griffin in particular has such an affinity for those stories and that world and is so good at capturing that with his writing and the whole staff, Tim Minear as well.  There’s just such a sort of affinity it’s almost like a tip of the hat from all of us to that style of movie making and television from the old days.

Nick Nunziata: Well, here’s to hoping you guys keep that lived-in look.  It’s great.